Red Doors

July 11, 2011 at 7:24 am | Posted in DVD Review, Film Review | Leave a comment
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Found this film at the library and watched it at home.

It was quite good. A film about Chinese Americans that concentrated on the American part. The film centres around the everyday goings on of three sisters: Sam (Jacqueline Kim); Julie ‘Jools’ (Elaine Kao); and Katie ( Kathy Shao-lin Lee). Sam is about to marry someone who wants she probably shouldn’t. Julie can’t find a boy friend; and Katie who doesn’t know how to talk to the boy next door.

By the end of the film: Sam will have given herself a chance for self-happiness; Julie discovers someone she really hits it off with (much to her mother’s surprise); and Katie tries communicating with words, rather than with dangerous practical jokes. Their father runs away to a monastery to find some time to think.

If anything the film is about New Yorkers – the film won Best New York film at the Tribeca Film Festival.

The film has a small immigrant Chinese element to it – the family look and are Chinese (well at least to the extent that you can be Chinese in America) and they eat with chopsticks and speak mandarin at dinner (well at least at the beginning), but otherwise the story would work for a Greek American family. the film does not labour the point. The father going to a monastery is a very American story!

The film has an immigrant element: Sam was good enough to go to Juilliard (to train as a ballerina); but her parents advised her not to go – not a secure financial career path. Echo’s of Georgia Lee’s (writer and director) own path – she dropped out of business school to make films; we she choose to resist the immigrant desire to be ‘safe’.

A good film – particularly if you come from an immigrant background! or not !!

Agora

July 2, 2011 at 9:41 am | Posted in Film Review | Leave a comment
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I had some spare time and so I went to see Agora ay the Paramount Theatre.

Plot revealed

The film is set in 4th century Alexandria – at the end of the Roman empire, and when the light house (one of the wonders of the ancient world) was still standing. Despite the name, Agora, the film is really about the rising power of the Christians in a part of the declining Roman world.

Most of the action involves Hypatia: mathematician, astronomer, general philosopher, and young women. All qualities that lead her into trouble and an untimely end. Yet her joy in the conic sections is inspiring.

The early Christians are portrayed in a very bad light; the film implies that they were no better than any other clique rising to power – propaganda, intimidation, innuendo, and violence. Hypatia’s non-secular influence on key dignitaries – she taught them – means that the archbishop of Alexandria eventually isolates and eliminates her.

Hypatia, played ably by Rachel Weisz, is portrayed as a moral academic caught up in turbulent political times. Hypatia, in the film, is accredited with modeling the solar system with the sun in the middle orbited by planets in elliptical orbits; reputing the Ptolemaic model and fixing the drawbacks of the Aristarchus/heliocentric model; eliminating the use or circular orbits and planetary epicycle. In some respects the film is a astronomy lesson.

The film is a series of juxtapositions: Hypatia’s questioning philosophical approach versus the dogma driven mob; Hypatia’s tolerance versus the intolerance of the emerging power; and personal integrity versus cynical pragmatism.

Hypatia’s world gradually changes in a series of political events, and through it all she continues to question and to look at the stars and ask why – to seek an elegant simple solution to why the planets move the way they do.

The viewer is at first entranced by the ancient world. Then suffers a series of disappointments as they see riots, pogroms, self-serving politics, murder; and finally the only question is; “will she live?” But even her former slave – Davus, played by Max Minghella – now a foot soldier of Christ cannot save her; he can only provide a quick clean death – so sad.

Worth watching if you are interested in astronomy, geometry, politics and history.

Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Embassy Theatre

July 1, 2011 at 10:05 pm | Posted in Film Review, Show Review | Leave a comment
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I went to the Rocky Horror Picture Show the other night and it was great!

The film was as I remembered it, and the audience participa … tion had gone up a notch or two.

When I arrived I was greeted by a young man with a slight limp and a hunchback discretely asked if I had been to one of these types of events before. I indicated that despite wearing normal clothes that I had; and so I ended up with a sticker that said “slut” stuck to my chest.

The people … the bustiers … the bustiers are the people !! (to mis-quote a literary work of my youth 🙂 )

Most attendees got into the spirit of things and dressed … er … down for the occasion. There was a wet bar inside the theatre – no more smuggling your own in like the old days. And everyone danced and partied and threw the stuff in the loot bags provided – the toilet roll was most challenging. Fantastic !!

There was a nice bit of warm up before the movie with a costume parade and competition; and a bit of interjection practice: JANET, DR SCOTT, BRAD, ROCKY !!!!

Big thanks to the Embassy crew for getting into the swig of things – by dressing up – and being willing to clean up the mess after each of the two sessions.

If you want an excuse to wear your underwear on the outside and have a great time, then go next year. …. Now if they would only show Sound of Music again …

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